Summerdays in LOTRO
Festivals are a great way to relax and have some fun in MMOs when you want to take a break from the rest of the questing. This guide will walk you through everything that makes up the 2011 Summer Festival in Turbine's LOTRO.
Summer Fun In Middle Earth
LOTRO is filled with quests and challenges for the stalwart adventurer, but one can only take so much combat and questing. To provide a break, there are four festivals per year, one for every season. During these festivals, there are plenty of additional social quests that can be undertaken. Festival quests tend to be fun and games instead of the standard sort, and they reward the player with tokens that can be bartered for social rewards instead of the armor and weapons quests might usually provide. New emotes, player titles, and cosmetic items such as outfits and housing decorations can be earned, and specific LOTRO festival mounts are available. From June 21st until July 11th, the 2011 LOTRO Summer Festival is taking place in Middle Earth. For players looking to take a break from the standard gameplay, the Summer Festival offers some light fun instead.
Beginning the Festivities
To begin the Summer Festival, check your mail. Every player will have a letter explaining the Summer Festivities to them. Taking the letter from your mail will begin a quest asking you to see Opal Goodbody, at the Party Tree in Hobbiton in the Shire. She can be found near the crafting oven by the aforementioned Party Tree. Speaking to her will finish the quest, which will reward you with your first Festival Token and the "Summer Festival Guide," a note you can click on in your inventory to read a brief breakdown of the events available to you during the Summer Festival. These events will take place in and around four locations, one for each race of the free people in Middle Earth.
The Hobbit festival area is the Party Tree where everything begins, and there are three others for Dwarves, Elves, and Men. The Dwarf festival area is in Thorin's Hall, in the underground inn. The Bree Festival grounds are in the field to the south of the Hengstacer Farm, the farm where players can purchase mounts. Finally, the Elven festival grounds are in Duillond. Each festival arena will have various events to participate in and different NPCS to provide rewards for those events.
The Party Tree
The majority of the events take place in the Shire, so it's a good thing the festival sends you to the Party Tree to begin. Hobbits do love a good celebration, after all. Near the Party Tree, there are two "scavenger hunt" style quests you can accept. The quest-givers will provide you with a list of items they've carelessly lost while enjoying the festival, and a note that you can read from your inventory providing clues to the location of each item. Once you've found all the items and returned them to their owner, you'll be rewarded with one festival token for each scavenger hunt. There is a third scavenger hunt in the Shire away from the Party Tree itself that begins by the bridge in Bywater, right next to the fishing Hobby Master.
There is also a Dance Leader in front of the tree. Should you accept their quest, you'll be given a set of dance steps to mimic and if you complete them all quickly and correctly, you'll be rewarded with a specific "hobbit dance" emote that your character will be able to perform in addition to the standard dance emotes.
There's a farming quest here as well, for players with characters that have the "farming" profession. You can accept this quest to be provided with a specific festival recipe to use in the field right next to the NPC that gives you the quest. Then, in the upcoming fall festival, you'll be able to come back and finish the quest by harvesting a decoration for your house.
There are two more quests that can be started here: The Inn League quest and the Taste of Hobbiton quest, but we'll cover those in more detail a little later on. While that's everything at the party tree, there are still more quests in the Shire. In the Delving Fields just south of Michel Delving itself there's a horse (or pony) race track, and in Bywater near the bridge, the Fishing quest begins. We'll cover those in more detail a little later on as well. First, however, there are a few more quests to do in locations outside of the Shire.
Festivities In The Rest of Middle Earth
The festival area in Duillond has the fewest quests. There's one scavenger hunt available, and a Dance Leader to provide an "elf dance" emote, and that's it.There are a couple of NPCS here that will provide quests leading you to the events in the other areas, but nothing else to actually do here.
In Thorin's Hall, there's one scavenger hunt that begins on the stairs into Thorin's Hall, and one that begins in the inn in Thorin's Hall. There's also the Keg-racing quest and the Ale Association quest, both of which we'll cover in more detail later on, and of course there's a Dance Leader here as well.
Finally, in Bree, there's another race track, another Dance Leader, and there is a quest to gather Fireworks. Every one of the festival arenas has a fireworks vendor that sells multiple kinds of fireworks, and each vendor sells one specific racial type of fireworks. The NPC in Bree asks you to obtain all four types of fireworks (man, hobbit, dwarf, and elf) and bring them to him within an hour. The reward is a specific "Summerdays fireworks" item that has infinite uses and creates a glowing tree in the sky. There are no scavenger hunts in Bree, making this another area with relatively little to do.
Slowing Down With Some Fishing
What good would a festival be without a chance to relax and enjoy a hobby? Even fictional characters need hobbies, after all, and the hobby available to players in LOTRO is fishing. As such, the summer festival has a specific fishing quest to partake in if you wish, beginning with Neddie Grub, the quartermaster by the bridge in Bywater.
The quest that begins the festival fishing is to stock the pond next to him with fish that are representative of all the races of Middle Earth, so this quest will have you traveling a bit. First you'll need to fish inside Thorin's Hall for 3 Amberjack, then you'll head to the shores of Celondim for 3 Luillim, and finally, you'll head to Bree, to the pond south of Bree-town itself for 3 Drum. Once you've collected these 9 fish, you can return to Neddie Grub for 2 festival tokens.
Completing this first quest will open up the primary festival fishing quests. One will start with him, and each of the locations you collected fish from earlier will have one more, all starting with the fishing "Quartermaster" NPC at that location. These quests are timed quests wherein you catch as many fish as you can in the time allowed. The fish you catch can be bartered with the Quartermasters for tokens and other festival items, and each location also has one specific "Rare Fish" that's worth more to barter.
You can also earn a "Rare Fish" title for your character by collecting 10 of each of these fish. Since Bywater is full of the fish you presumably stocked it with in the first quest, the fish you catch here are all fish that can be bartered, unlike the other locations where you will still catch plenty of useless weeds and things, making Bywater by far the location that will net you the best rewards. As such, its time limit is half that of the other fishing locations. The timed fishing quests are each repeatable once daily, and each lasts for 20 minutes, except Bywater's quest, which lasts for 10.
Drinking, But Without The Poor Decisions And Hangovers
No celebration in Middle Earth is complete without plenty of Ale, and with each festival, the Inn League and the Ale Association each return. The Inn League is run by the hobbits, and the Introduction Quest begins at the party tree. The quest will ask you to drink 6 beers on the table next to the NPC in the time allotted, and then run to the inn in the town of Brockenborings where you'll drink 6 more beers. From there you run to another inn and another, until you've run across most of the Shire and gotten extremely drunk. (For those that haven't spend any time drinking in LOTRO before, being drunk provides you with a debuff that makes the entire screen become blurry. This gets worse the drunker you become.) Completing this quest will give you acquaintance standing with the Inn League, and will open up various other quests to you to continue earning reputation with their faction.
Not to be outdone when it comes to drinking, the Dwarves in Middle Earth run the rival Ale Association. The introductory quest can be accepted in Thorin's Hall, but it will send you to the Prancing Pony in Bree to begin. For the Ale Association, all of the stations are in and around Bree-town, and once again, you'll run from station to station getting increasingly drunk until finally, once you complete the quest, you earn Acquaintance standing with the faction.
Continuing With The Drinking Factions
To earn further reputation with either drinking faction, you can complete the "trial" quest for either faction, which is repeatable though it does have a fairly lengthy cooldown. This is an exact repeat of the introduction quest, only it rewards you with far less reputation. You can also find Inn League and Ale Association Tavern Keeps and Members scattered around all of the festival locations handing out specific faction quests to either deliver ales to locations throughout Middle Earth or steal recipes from the rival factions.
These will award you with reputation for the faction you're working for, but they will also give you negative reputation for the rival faction, forcing you to choose one over the other. In addition to reputation, these quests provide Badges of Taste for the Inn League and Badges of Dishonour for the Ale Association, which can be bartered with the factions for the cosmetic items that each faction has available. More items, and in some cases, player titles, become available as you reach higher reputation standings. Finally, each faction has a specific mount available for players that have reached Kindred status. The Inn League Horse and Ale Association Goats provide some great additional motivation to work your way to the top with the hobbits or the dwarves.
High-Speed Partying: Summer Races
Finally, once you've sobered up from all the ale, the Summer Festival has a lot of racing to enjoy as well. First of all, there are two races where you can bet on other contestants to win festival tokens. In Hobbiton, there's the "Taste of Hobbiton" race. Talk to the Race Trader at the party tree first and he'll give you a quest that you can immediately turn in with him to receive two "race tokens," the tokens you'll use to bet on the race. This quest has a one-hour cooldown, meaning you can only get 2 tokens from him per hour, though more tokens can be purchased in the LOTRO store if you want to do some extra gambling.
Once you've collected your tokens, travel north from the party tree to the top of the hill above Bag End to bet on the race. Talk to the race leader and select one of four quests to bet on one of the four hobbit contestants. Then you'll need to turn the quest in immediately again to actually place your bet, and once you have, you can wait until the race begins. Four hobbits will run from table to table, eating food at each table, and the first to make it to the finish line despite being stuffed is the winner. If you bet on the right hobbit, you can talk to the race trader that gave you the race tokens earlier to receive 6 summer tokens as a reward.
In Thorin's Hall, there's a Keg Race. You get your race tokens from a Race Trader in the Inn, and the race begins on the steps down to Frerin's Court just outside of Thorin's Hall itself. This race is dwarves instead of hobbits and ale instead of food, but other than that, everything is exactly the same as the Taste of Hobbiton race. The race tokens provided by the traders in each location are the same item as well, meaning you can use the race tokens given to you in Hobbiton to bet on the race in Thorin's Hall, and vice versa. The races happen once every ten minutes, so you'll never have to wait long until the next race if you lose once, and winners of each race are entirely random, so selecting a winner correctly is always pure guesswork.
Horse Races And Summer Mounts
In addition to random races you can bet on, there are two racetracks you can participate in. One is in the Delving Fields south of Michel Delving in the Shire, and the other begins at the Bree festival grounds. Other than the different location, they are basically identical quests. An NPC at the beginning of the track will provide the quest, which is a timed race around the track, through multiple "checkpoint" gates and ultimately all the way around to the finish line. These races are a lot more intricate than the quest to obtain a mount, and have you jumping over gaps and weaving between obstacles from gate to gate instead of simply running around a loop. Should you reach the finish line in time, you'll have the opportunity to choose between 3 festival tokens as a reward or one summer horse token which can be brought to the Hengstacer farm in Bree to barter for one of the two summer festival mounts available.
Summer Festival Rewards
There are plenty of fun items to earn during the Summer Festival. In addition to the titles, emotes, and mounts already mentioned in this article, tokens can be bartered with NPCS in all of the festival locations as well as each of the quartermasters in the fishing locations for plenty of additional rewards. There are a plethora of cosmetic dress items and housing decorations available, and there are also social items that can be used on other players, forcing their characters to do different things. You can obtain items that will let you breathe fire that will light nearby characters on fire, or force others to faint or cough, along with many other actions. The festival quests are all repeatable as well, with individual cooldown timers, to allow players to earn a great deal of tokens to barter for everything they could possibly want.
There is a "Celebrating Sunshine" deed to complete that gives the player the title “Sunshine" to use. This is earned by completing three specific scavenger hunt quests (Missing Things in Duillond, Forgotten Errands in Thorin's Hall, and Too Much Festival in The Shire), as well as completing the fireworks quest in Bree, and completing all of the fishing quests. There is also a "Lucky Duck" title available for winning once each with all 8 racers between the hobbit and dwarf races, and a "Picky Picker" title and a "Heave" emote that causes the player to lose their lunch in front of everyone, for winning three times each with every racer.
Between the various titles and cosmetic items that can be earned, there are plenty of rewards for the players who partake in a lot of festival fun, and one way or another, relaxing with some of these sorts of quests is just a nice break from all the danger and peril everywhere else in Turbine's Middle Earth. If you're getting tired of the standard quests, give the Summer Festival a look and see if you can't have some fun of a more frivolous nature. After all, even the most seasoned warriors need to blow off a little steam sometimes, and what better way is there to do that than a festival?
Source and Images: Author's Own Experience.
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